WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club will not be taking their foot off the gas in their search for a second successive top-six finish in National League 2 South, despite facing a tough run-in to the season.
Having won 23-18 at Lydney on Saturday, when two late tries from the home side earned themselves a losing bonus point, Raiders now face the league’s top three in the next three weeks, and have other tough games in their remaining seven matches.
Raiders team manager David Hinchliffe said: “We have three hard games now, Jersey on Saturday and they are pushing hard for promotion, then Richmond who are just behind them, and then the leaders, so it’s not an easy few Saturdays, but we’ll be giving it our best shot.
“A few teams have eased off a bit. It always seems to happen at this time of year, as teams see they aren’t going to go up or down, but we don’t want to do that.
“We don’t want to fizzle out, we want to keep on going and finish as high as we possibly can.
“We have slightly more home games than away, but we travel to Newbury and Westcombe Park, on the final day, which won’t be easy as they are fighting off relegation.
“We’ll take one game at a time and make the best efforts we can. We finished sixth last year, so would like to equal that.”
Joe Govett, who was on kicking duties as Matt McLean was rested, got the scoring underway after nine minutes on Saturday, when he sent over a penalty after a sweeping Raiders move was stopped illegally.
Richard Briggs went over on the right as Worthing turned the ball over and broke forwards, and Govett converted for a 10-0 lead.
There was another Govett penalty before the break and, although Lydney put one over themselves, Raiders were in control at 13-3 ahead at half-time.
Another Lydney penalty early in the second half pulled a further three points back, before Worthing’s Alex Nielsen broke from his own 22, rode a tackle on the halfway line and went on score.
Govett added the conversion and a penalty shortly afterwards to give them a 23-6 lead.
A late showing from Lydney saw them put down two tries, including a converted one in the last minute, and gave them a losing bonus point.
Hinchliffe added: “We would have settled for it when we left as it’s probably one of our longest days. It’s an early start and a tough place to go.
“They felt we were lucky forcing the turnovers but it was from good aggressive defending. Although a lot of the time they were attacking, our defence was so rigid and strong we managed to pick it up – that’s not lucky, it’s hard work.”
Raiders’ tough run of three games starts with Jersey visiting Roundstone Lane on Saturday (2pm kick-off). The day doubles with St Patrick’s Day celebrations and there is a post-match party.
WORTHING: Pointing, Miles, Bruce, Coxon-Smith, Stutchbury, Arthur, Hewick, Smith, Costigan, Luke, Nielsen, Dudley, Sullivan, Briggs, Govett. Subs: Cue, Perkins, Webster, Redmayne, Greenwood.